When I bought my camera a few years ago, I honestly didn’t know much about it. All I really knew was that I could take the lenses off and that I felt like a million bucks with this big, black camera in my hands. Have you ever felt the same way? I thought that as long as I had a nice camera, then I would be able to take amazing pictures. While that is true on some levels (the higher quality camera + lens combination, the better your images will be), that doesn’t mean that you still can’t take good pictures with what you already own. After all, what really makes a great picture is the person behind the camera, not the equipment itself. I had a basic crop sensor camera for the first year of my business, and it was the perfect camera to start out on. I’ve since upgraded to a full frame camera, so unless you plan to pursue photography professionally there’s really no need to invest in that high of quality equipment.
Anywho, I began to research blogs and followed so many photographers that inspired me. I saw all of these images with creamy and blurry backgrounds, and I wanted my images to look like that. The problem was that I had absolutely no idea how to get there. However, the more I read, the more I learned about shooting in manual mode. I played around with it for a while but didn’t really know where to start. Although there are so many blogs that explain the do’s and don’ts of manual mode, I never really found one that worked. To be honest, for the longest time, I would take a test shot on automatic, and then play around with the settings on manual until I got it just right. I learned how to shoot in manual by practicing every time I pulled out my camera. It seems crazy, but after a few months, I found myself setting up manual all by myself. I no longer had to “cheat” by using auto, and I truly understood the relationship between the “manual mode triangle.”
Now, what do I mean “triangle??” Well, I’m glad you asked! There are three components to manual mode: ISO, shutter speed and aperture. They all work together, but they each control something completely different. ISO is the camera’s sensitivity to light, shutter speed freezes motion, and aperture lets light into the lens and creates a beautiful bokeh. By understanding the relationships between them, I am able to create a consistent style in my images.
If you’re wanting a more in-depth guide to mastering manual mode, check out our Mastering Manual Mode PDF in the online shop!
When I was starting out, I couldn’t find any resources that made sense to me when it came to understanding the relationship between ISO, shutter speed and aperture. And it’s just that: a relationship. ENJOY!